Health Highlights: Jan. 15, 2014

By on January 15, 2014

Health Highlights: Jan. 15, 2014

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Muscle-Building Exercises Reduce Women’s Diabetes Risk: Study

Lifting weights and other muscle-building workouts reduce women’s risk of diabetes, according to a new study.

Researchers analyzed data collected from nearly 100,000 U.S. nurses over eight years and found that those who lifted weights, did press-ups or similar resistance workouts were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, BBC News reported.

Compared with inactive women, those who did at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity and at least an hour of muscle-strengthening exercises a week were a third less likely to develop diabetes, said the study in the journal PLoS Medicine.

It was already known that regular aerobic workouts can help prevent type 2 diabetes. And previous studies have shown that muscle-building exercises protect men against diabetes, BBC News reported.


Asian-Americans Thinner, Not Necessarily Healthier Than Other Racial Groups: Study

Just because Asian-Americans tend to be thinner than whites, blacks and Hispanics doesn’t mean they’re healthier, according to a new study.

It found that about 38 percent of Asian-Americans are overweight, compared with 66 percent of whites, 76 percent of blacks and nearly 80 percent of Hispanics, NBC News reported.

However, Asian-Americans were about as likely to have high blood pressure as whites, and about as likely to have high cholesterol as whites, blacks and Hispanics, according to the federal government study.

This is the first time that Asian-Americans have been included in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Previously, there were too few people of Asian descent in the U.S., but their numbers increased by more than 40 percent between 2000 and 2010 and they now make up five percent of the nation’s population, NBC News reported.


Free Paternity Tests for People Whose Parents Used Fertility Clinic at University of Utah

University of Utah officials are offering free paternity tests to anyone whose parents used a fertility clinic that was once operated by faculty members and where there was possible tampering with semen samples.

The university received a complaint that a convicted felon who worked as a medical technologist at the Reproductive Medical Technologies clinic in the early 1990s switched a customer’s sperm with his own. Officials won’t get any answers from the suspect, Thomas Ray Lippert, because he died in 1999, the Associated Press reported.

The complaint was filed by Pamela Branum nearly a year ago after she and her husband discovered a genetic mismatch in their 21-year-old daughter who was born after the couple used the fertility clinic in 1991. With help from Lippert’s relatives, the couple was able to trace their daughter’s lineage to Lippert.

The fertility clinic closed in the 1990s and left behind no records that might reveal if more people were affected. A university hotline has received 17 calls in recent days about possible tampering with semen samples at the clinic, the AP reported.

However, university officials say a lack of information will make it difficult to investigate the matter.

“Unfortunately, the reality of this very disturbing situation is that there is very little information with which to make any definitive conclusions,” Kathy Wilets, a spokeswoman for the University of Utah’s health sciences division, told the AP in a statement.

“We believe it is impossible to determine exactly what happened. The university is sympathetic to the distress this situation has caused the Branum family,” she added.

Pamela Branum said she doesn’t believe the university has conducted a serious investigation and is trying to avoid the risk of a wider scandal, the AP reported.

The university had no ownership stake in the clinic, but used some of its services. Three of the clinic’s owners were university faculty or staff. Surviving partners have refused to comment on the matter.

State and federal prosecutors said they hadn’t known about Barnum’s allegation and weren’t certain if an investigation was necessary, the AP reported.


Michelle Obama Won’t Rule Out Cosmetic Procedures

Michelle Obama turns 50 later this week and won’t rule out the possibility of having cosmetic procedures such as plastic surgery or Botox treatments in the future.

“Women should have the freedom to do whatever they need to do to feel good about themselves,” she told People magazine in an interview to be published Friday, which is the first lady’s 50th birthday, the Associated Press reported. “Right now, I don’t imagine that I would go that route, but I’ve also learned to never say never.”

Mrs. Obama urged women to look after their health. She noted that she has never missed a health checkup, including Pap smears and mammograms. She’s also had a colonoscopy.

“I don’t obsess about what I eat, but I do make sure that I’m eating vegetables and fruit,” she said in the interview, the AP reported. “And as everyone knows, I do exercise.”


Judge Denies Preliminary Approval of NFL Concussion Settlement

Preliminary approval of a $765 million settlement of concussion claims involving NFL players was denied Tuesday by a federal judge due to concerns it would not be enough to cover 20,000 retired players.

A week ago, players’ lawyers gave the payout plan to U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody to review. In her opinion released Tuesday, the judge asked for more financial information from the parties, the Associated Press reported.

“I am primarily concerned that not all retired NFL football players who ultimately receive a qualifying diagnosis or their (families) will be paid,” Brody wrote in her opinion.

The proposed settlement was negotiated over several months and is meant to last 65 years. Individual payouts would be based on a retired player’s age and diagnosis. For example, a younger retired player with Lou Gehrig’s disease would receive $5 million, while one with serious dementia would get $3 million, and an 80-year-old with early dementia would get $25,000, the AP reported.

More than 4,500 former players have filed suit against the NFL, and some have accused the league of fraud for the way it dealt with concussions.


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